Our Story

Immanuel Lutheran Church was established in 1867 when Pastor E. Sitzman began holding
services in Lawrence and Eudora. After he left in 1869, the congregations were served irregularly by neighboring pastors, but then disbanded.

To serve Lawrence and the Lutheran students at KU and Haskell, Immanuel was reestablished in 1923 under Pastor M. C. Heerboth. Services were held in various buildings until 1924 when Immanuel purchased its first church home, the little stone church at 10th and Kentucky. Pastors Stoeppelworth, Meyer, Brandt and Britton served from 1926 to 1959. The congregation was officially organized in 1928. In 2003, it celebrated its 75th anniversary.


Under Pastor Norman Brandt, a new sanctuary was built in 1952 at 17th and Vermont. It also served as the Lutheran Student Center. Pastor Dan DeBlock served the congregation and university students from 1959 to 1966 and Pastor Walter Lutz served them from 1966 to 1985. Under Pastor Lutz's leadership, five classrooms and more office spaces were added and central airconditioning was installed.

Because of the rapidly growing university community, the Kansas District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in 1965 established University Lutheran Church. The District purchased property and built the sanctuary and student center at 15th and Iowa, and called Pastor Norman Steffen to serve the campus. He served until 1977.

From 1966 to 1985, University Lutheran ministered to all Lutheran students and others from the KU community through a cooperative arrangement with the National Lutheran Campus Ministry. Pastor Don Conrad was the ELCA campus pastor. Pastor Mark Hoelter of Hepler, Kansas served University Lutheran from 1977 until 1990.

The need for extensive building maintenance at University Lutheran led to discussions about merging the ministries of Immanuel and University Lutheran. With the support of the Kansas District this was done on Januaray 1, 1986. Thus, today we have Immanuel Lutheran Church and University Lutheran Student Center. In August 1986, the remodeled facility at 15th and Iowa became the worship center.

Also in 1986, Pastor Don Miller became the senior pastor for the Lawrence ministry. Pastor Ken Kueker became campus pastor in 1991, then Pastor Alan Estby in 1998.

The members and students associated with Immanuel Lutheran Church and University Student Center thank God for the faithful witness of the parent congregations and for the more than seventy-five years of fruitful service by dedicated pastors. The congregation and center are committed to proclaiming the Gospel to the Lawrence community and to the students attending Kansas and Haskell Universities.


Serving Immanuel Lutheran
E. Sitzman 1867–69
Martin Heerboth 192325
Walter Stoeppelworth 192641
Victor Meyer 194248
Norman Brandt 195056
William Britton 195659
Daniel DeBlock, Jr. 195966
Walter Lutz 196685


Rudolph Kurz 195960
John Suelflow 196061
Melvin Meyer 196162

Assistant Pastor

Earl Zimmerman 1962-65

Serving University Lutheran
Norman Steffen 196577
Mark Hoelter 197785

Serving Immanuel/University
Walter Lutz, Parish 1986
Mark Hoelter, Campus 198690
Donald Miller, Parish 19862005
Kenneth Kueker, Campus 199196
Alan Estby, Campus 1998
Earl Bielefeld, Interim 2006
Jerry Powers, Interim 20062007
Marty Schlossman, Vacancy 20072009
Randall Weinkauf, Parish 20092020
Thomas Harries, Vacancy 2021-2022
Andrew Wehling 2022-present

© 2023 Immanuel Lutheran Church and University Student Center
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